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Combatting Violence Against Children

UN Health Agency Launches Guidelines To Help Combat Violence Against Children

New York, Oct 16 2006 8:00PM

The United Nations health agency today issued a practical guide to help governments and aid agencies prevent violence against children by following up on the recommendations made in the in-depth study on the problem by Secretary-General Kofi Annan that was launched last week.

In particular, the World Health Organization (WHO) Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence is aimed at stamping out violence by parents and caregivers, the agency said in a press release, adding that Mr. Annan’s study showed that much of the violence endured by children aged 0-14 years occurs in the home.

“For too long now the response to child maltreatment has been dominated by systems for reacting to cases once maltreatment has already started. The scientific evidence for preventing physical, sexual and psychological abuse from occurring in the first place is already quite strong, and the time is ripe for a paradigm shift from reῡction to prevention, said Dr Anders Nordström, WHO Acting Director General.

The guide, published jointly with the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), provides technical advice for professionals working in Governments, research institutes and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on how to measure the extent of child maltreatment and its consequences and how to design, implement and evaluate prevention programmes.

It also notes that the strong relationships between child maltreatment, economic inequality and poverty mean that reducing inequality, as well as poverty, is likely to make a significant contribution to preventing child maltreatment.

“We welcome the WHO-ISPCAN guide on Preventing Child Maltreatment,” said Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “This is an important new tool for addressing violence against children.”

Mr. Annan’s study, which was discussed in the General Assembly last Wednesday, examines all forms of violence against children and puts forward 12 overarching recommendations aimed at prevention and how to respond if violence occurs. It also puts forward five specific recommendations applying to the home and family, schools and other educaῴional settings, institutions for care or detention, the workplace and the community.

Most of the 10 pages of recommendations and follow-up are directed primarily at States and refer to their legislative, administrative, judicial, policymaking, service delivery and institutional functions, while also emphasizing the primacy of the family.


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